Cry, Baby

UPDATE RE HARRISON: This is my blog, so I get to share whatever I choose.  Harrison, his best friend Alex (of an earlier post) and Alex’s gf Alize just came back from a trip to Best Buy.  They entered the house telling me that a little old lady had fallen breaking her hip while walking into the store and Harrison, using his life saving training, was the first responder while others stood around watching.  He comforted and stabilized her until the arrival of the EMTs.  Alex and Alize told me they were kind of amazed at how professional and helpful Harrison was.  That might just make me cry tears of happiness…

Upon reading this, I see that it might appear to be a plea for sympathy.  Not really…just keeping it real.  xo

I have been on the verge of tears for days now.  (If we are being honest, it is more like weeks, but it seems more profound over the past few days.)  I cannot quite discern why I feel this way, although I can think of a lot of things that are going on which would make many people shed a tear.  None seems to come to the surface as the reason, though, which is actually irritating me to no end.  More irritating is that the tears seem to be unable to break through and let loose…they are stuck.

It has certainly been a tumultuous year.  This whole parenting a child who has identified as transgender can wear on anyone, but add it to all the regular stuff that life throws (hurls is a more appropriate word) at you and it can make you just want to sit down and weep (rocking and thumb-sucking are optional).

I am not much of a crier.  As a kid I cried all the time and had a penchant for slamming doors in the middle of said break down just for good measure.  (My biggest disappointment when we moved to our new house when I was eleven was that my room had a sliding door which was nearly impossible to slam without taking a few fingers out in the process which served as a real impediment to my drama queendom).  As an adult, I tend not to resort to tears in part because when I do, I am loath to make them stop since I know that they have arrived out of pure frustration after having been unconsciously held in for long stretches.  All fits of crying are invariably followed by red, puffy, swollen and painful eyes which endures for a good twenty-four hours.  (I have been known to use Preparation H on them to reduce the swelling.  And, yes, it works) No matter what I do, I am assured that the entire day following a crying jag is going to be unpleasant, uncomfortable and undesirable.  (Someone once told me that it is because my eyes are blue that they react that way…I think it is just a little “fuck you” thrown in for good measure; as if it wasn’t bad enough to live through heaving, shaking crying, I had to be served with a reminder of it for hours to come.  Whatever.)

I never cry when I am scared or sad.  I know that to be true because I did not cry when I was told that I had breast cancer or when I held my father’s hand as they disconnected the life support which was keeping him alive.  I didn’t cry when George became Jessie overnight…not right away, anyway.  And I didn’t cry when Harrison had to have a middle of the night emergency appendectomy.  No, those are normal times to cry.  Those are also the times that I am the person you want in the room, the person who will manage the situation and find something funny about it.  Instead, I wait to cry when I feel as though my innards are going to literally splatter all over the wall if I don’t somehow, someway, let them adjust to the latest issue, no matter how major or minor it might be.

Admittedly, there is a lot going on for me and my family right now.  The summer has been speckled with traumas;  some minor (like seeing, due to an ill-fitting bathing suit, an old man’s junk at the pool…only to later learn that it was a friend’s father)  to more significant (like Harrison’s unfortunate incident involving a sharp stick and his bare heel or Jessie’s greatly abbreviated camp experience or my run-in with first an x-ray machine on my face and then a heavy toy on the top of my foot) but all, in their own special ways, traumatic.  And I haven’t really cried yet.

We are all healthy.  We are all safe, well fed (I am a bit too well fed, actually) and have a comfortable (read: air-conditioned) home.  But, the truth is, the summer has sucked.  I’ve not seen the ocean once which, for a New Englander is akin to death.  I had one lobster but it was at a friend’s house and there was no accompanying smell of salt water and sand.  (There were, however, good adult beverages.)  The daily threats of afternoon thunderstorms have weighed me down with laziness against going to the pool only to have to pack up and run out through the clouds at the first clap of thunder.  Lethargy has set in and tears have eluded me.  And, frankly, that worries me.

The start of school is just around the corner and never an easy time for Jessie (or her mother).  Harrison is starting his senior year of high school and will be even more bogged down with essays and studying than he has been this summer.*  And here I am , trying to find a good time and place to bawl my eyes out so that I am in the best shape possible to get them through.  I can do this.  I can do this.  I can do this…I might have to go chop an onion to get the ball rolling, though…dammit!

Oh, and a word of caution; if you are with me and I do start to cry you may want to beat a hasty retreat to somewhere other than with me since when it happens, it is ugly.  I won’t be offended.

*Please indulge me and allow me to give a shout out to Harrison for how incredibly hard he has been working all summer: saving lives by day (theoretically, anyway) and banging out his college essays and studying for another round of ACTs  by night.  It is not the way any almost 18-year-old wants to spend the summer, but he has and I am crazy proud of him….really.

18 thoughts on “Cry, Baby

  1. For some reason, this time of year always brings about the free floating feeling of depression. I’ve never nailed it down. I understood the pre-summer of anxiety in which I was to become in the headlights of 24/7 Parenting and Entertainment- but just before school started I’d become weepy for no reason. Surely, I should be jumping for joy? I could only come to the conclusion that it was a marking of time passing in my child’s life – marching onward to a day in which I would no longer be needed – and though I dreaded that need, and berated myself for how poorly I lived up to that need sometimes, perhaps I was more dreading the not needing in the future. I dunno. But from my experience, I say let the tears fall…..when school’s back in. It’s a healthy thing.

  2. Julie, G-d we have such similarities I think, and have always thought..which is why Steve had told me I would adore you when we first introduced! I can relate totally to the no crying (anger, that’s another story).. Good, hearty stock we are! Wishing you some better days in August! Bravo Harrison!

  3. Go ahead and let it out. I’ve always thought crying is cathartic. Try a movie that you know will make you cry ( for me it’s always been “terms of endearment”, the scene when the youngest son is saying goodbye to Debra winger in the hospital, God that scene makes me cry buckets every time)and just let it roll.
    If you want a crying buddy, we can get it on apple tv and cry in our popcorn 🙂

  4. Cry-er here. Sorry. And, dang, Adam has been a CIT away all summer and this college essay thing is making me anxious. Way to go H.
    Don’t you cry w/ PMS? I am a mess.
    Hang in there, she says again to the friend who is hanging by a strand of dental floss.

  5. I am not a crier, either. For example, eleven years ago I suffered a tremendous loss and I did not cry right away. The Doctor even pulled my sister aside and told her that I was way too calm and that she might want to keep an eye on me. It’s true that when the tears do come everybody in the surrounding towns would be wise to head for the hills, because those crying jags are doozies. They are exhausting, but in my opinion they seem to almost be cleansing. It’s as if you poured out a bucket that has been slowly filled with tiny teardrops. It takes a long time to overflow, but once it does and your bucket is empty you can once again begin to slowly and quietly fill it.

  6. Julie There is nothing like a good crying jag to cleanse the soul as long as you know what you’re crying over. You’ve been through an awful lot this summer (G-d knows) and all those distractions even a painful as they are, might be keeping you from facing whatever it is that is making you depressed. Once you figure that out those tears will come and you will then begin to heal; no sense in forcing them.
    When I transitioned it was my family and friends that suffered, it wasn’t until they let go of Paul, said good bye to him and grieved for their loss before that could move on and embrace Paula. What I see as being potentially extremely torturous from sitting outside of your situation is that someday Jessie might miss being George and decide she’s had enough or she may not. From my vantage point I wonder if Its that not having definitive answer, a direction to take that’s leaving you with this feeling of being in limbo, you cant grieve the loss of George your son when he might be coming back. Anyway its just a thought and your mileage may vary as they say.
    But please DO take some time go to the shore; smell the salty air, hear the waves crashing on the beach, feel the sand between your toes and dive into that fine lobster dinner with a tall glass of wine or two. After the summer you’ve had you deserve at least a month of pampering at the shore. Hang in there.
    Hugs from afar,

    PS. Way to Go to Harrison!!!

  7. There is an awkward pause… buried in August, before school starts. You’re almost ‘sick’ of summer, but it’s still really hot and you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything you wanted to. I hope your bucket overflows before September, go meet Kerrianne by the pool now!! you need to be mentally prepared for September!! Good luck 🙂

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